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Press Release

Canadian First Natio' Digital Preservation Project gets boost from EMC

U’mista Cultural Society One of Seven Winners Worldwide of Grants Designed to Preserve and Protect Information Heritage

TORONTO, Ontario, March 18, 2008 - 

EMC Corporation, the world leader in information infrastructure solutions, today announced the U’mista Cultural Society, in Alert Bay, B.C., is one of seven organizations receiving EMC Heritage Trust Project awards totaling US$100,000. The Heritage Trust awards are designed to protect and improve access to information in communities around the world. EMC received 325 applications from 34 countries since announcing the inaugural awards program last May.

The U’mista Cultural Society is helping drive a collaborative project that will use digital media to thoroughly document the largest and oldest collection of Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) cultural material in Europe. The Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation is an indigenous nation residing in British Columbia on northern Vancouver Island and the mainland. The collection of cultural material was assembled by Johan Adrian Jacobsen around 1881 and is held by the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, Germany.

“The collection contains many items that our people have never seen before,” said Andrea Sanborn, Executive Director of the U’mista Cultural Centre. “By digitizing the collection and making it available to our community, we can help our people learn more about their culture. We can also share information with other researchers who are working on projects involving the Kwakwaka’wakw.”

The U’mista Cultural Society is a small museum in a remote community and has limited resources, Sanborn noted.

“We don’t have a large budget, so receiving help from organizations like EMC is greatly appreciated,” she said.

“Preserving important information is at the core of EMC’s business,” said Michael Sharun, Managing Director of EMC Canada. “We’re pleased to be able to help protect a key piece of a Canadian First Nation’s culture and history. We were impressed with the quality and quantity of the submissions we received from Canadian organizations, which are clearly making extraordinary efforts to improve access to and protect Canada’s rich heritage.”

The EMC Information Heritage Initiative was formalized in 2007 to help preserve and protect humanity’s information heritage and make important historical documents and cultural artifacts readily accessible via the Internet for research and education purposes.  In conjunction with this initiative, the EMC Heritage Trust Project was created to recognize and support any public or private local organization, institution or individual projects around the world that are designed to protect and improve access to invaluable information. 

“Over the last decade, we’ve donated more than $20 million to information heritage preservation across the globe including large-scale projects with the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,” said Joe Tucci, EMC’s Chairman, President and CEO. “The EMC Heritage Trust Project extends this initiative to local communities around the world.”

The EMC Heritage Trust Project’s distinguished judging committee reviewed the 325 applications from around the globe and narrowed the list down to 48 finalists.  Award recipients were chosen based on the potential size of the audience that would benefit from access to this information; the at-risk status of the information and why it is so urgent to digitize it; and how beneficial EMC’s grant would be for the project.  The other six winners of this year’s awards are:

The Music Library of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra—The EMC grant will pay for the hardware and software required for the preservation and cataloguing of one of the oldest and most significant musical collections in Russia, making it widely available globally via the Web.

Flimmer Film AS—The EMC grant will allow the Norwegian organization to translate and share over the Web “My Days,” an oral history project in which senior citizens share short, personal narratives from their everyday lives.

Center for the Study of Peace and Reconciliation (CsPR)—The EMC grant will allow the CsPR at Hitotsubashi University’s Graduate School of Social Sciences in Japan to digitize its  research on peace and reconciliation and the related issues of conflict, violence and memory, including interview tapes, manuscripts, audio tapes and films.

Chiang Mai University Library—The EMC grant will help Chiang Mai University Library in Thailand to digitize traditional temple manuscripts dating back to the 16th century, many on palm-leaf material, tree bark paper and mulberry paper, as well as 350 microfilms from the 1980s containing the collections of 100 Buddhist temples.

Villa Ocampo—The EMC grant will restore, protect and digitize Victoria Ocampo’s extensive library collection in Argentina, which includes more than 12,000 books and 1,000 periodicals, as well as letters, photographs and other personal papers.  Victoria Ocampo was a well-known 20th century Latin American cultural figure, who founded and published Sur, the most important literary magazine of its time in Latin America.

-  The Edgar Allan Poe Museum—The EMC grant will fund staffing, equipment and post-digitization, acid-free storage of materials, to preserve the Richmond, Virginia, museum’s collections of Poe artifacts, manuscripts, family ephemera and memorabilia.

To view the complete list of EMC Heritage Trust Project finalists, visit Below is the list of Canadian finalists:

  • AlouetteCanada
  • Calgary Public Library
  • Glenbow Museum
  • Joggins Fossil Institute
  • King Township Public Library
  • The Bertrand Russell Archives, William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library
  • The Celtic Music Interpretive Centre Society
  • The University of Prince Edward Island project “A Living Archives”
  • The Wolfville Historical Society
  • Trinity Historical Society Inc.


The EMC Heritage Trust Project will begin accepting nominations for next year’s awards on July 1, 2008. Winners will be announced in May 2009. Program details are available at


About EMC

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) is the world’s leading developer and provider of information infrastructure technology and solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to transform the way they compete and create value from their information. Information about EMC’s products and services can be found at

EMC Canada (, headquartered in Toronto with seven offices from coast to coast, is a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC Corporation.


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* Photography available upon request


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